Does concentration of ownership and family control affect specialisation/diversification business strategies?

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Technická Univerzita v Liberci
Technical university of Liberec, Czech Republic
The impact of family ownership on strategic decision-making and diversification in public corporations is an important but not clearly understood aspect of modern corporate governance. In many cases, large-block family owners of public corporations may have a great deal of input in strategic decision-making in large corporations. Previous literature investigates how ownership structure and diversification are connected, but conclusions are not homogeneous. Agency theory suggests that professional managers are fundamentally self-interested, and the public corporation diversifies because managers pursue their own interests, rather than the interest of shareholders. However in family firms, ownership and control use to coincide and family diversification decisions which causes a lower diversification. In this paper authors analyzes the impact of ownership concentration and the influence of ultimate owner’s nature of business group (family or non-family) in diversification's decision: specialization, related diversification, unrelated diversification and mixed diversification (when a company uses both related and unrelated diversification) Based on a sample of ninety-nine Spanish listed companies during the years 2000–2005, and using the listed company an their subsidiaries (pyramidal group) as unit of analysis, this research finds: firstly, the highest ownership concentration increases the adoption of specialization strategies and reduce the mixed diversification; Secondly, attending to ultimate owner’s nature, family firms adopt more strategies of specialization and related diversification, and less diversification strategies than non-family firms; Finally, results also show behaviour differences in family firms according to ownership concentration’s degree: an increasing ownership concentration’s degree in family firms rises the probability of diversification.
gender, financial decisions, small firms, start-ups